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If you or anyone you know has had a breast reconstruction, could you please give me your views?

(17 Posts)
anorak Sat 16-Aug-08 14:15:35

I am being referred for a reconstruction following a mastectomy and I want to weigh up the pros and cons of the different types of reconstructions available before I decide which method to go for. Thanks.

BlaDeBla Sat 16-Aug-08 17:36:13

I think you'll find, anorak that it depends on lots of things. If you have a big tum and haven't had surgery there like a cs, you may decide to have a tummy tuck. I've had the muscle from my back used, and a bit of an implant. An implant on its own can look a bit false, but it depends. I just took advice from my surgeon. I am having another operation quite soon to sort out the lump in the implant. What they mind about here is the shape in a brahmm

TheMadHouse Sun 17-Aug-08 20:55:01

Anorak - I have discussed this loads with my surgeon and it does depend on your body shape.

I would not be suitable for one where they take the muscles from your back as my back is too small.

I can have the tummy tuck one, even though I have had 2 c-sections and the op to remove my ovaries.

The issue for me will be where the blood supply comes from, hopefully my groin.

I didnt want implants, as I will have to have them done more than once and also for the fact that they could mask any changes I might have.

I have also spoke to someone who has had the surgery that I am going to have, so I am prepared that it is going to be a long recovery adn a major operation.

lou031205 Sun 17-Aug-08 21:04:01

Anorak, I used to work in a breast cancer clinic, if that helps?

Tummy tuck:

Better if you have loose skin/ tissue to take from. Obviously will leave you with a tummy scar as well as your mastectomy scar.

Lat Dorsi (back)

Need to have spare tissue on back. Not suitable if you are very sporty, because you lose the muscle in your back. Scar more discreet if you like to wear tops that skim your midrift/ bikinis.

BlaDeBla is right, they tend to focus on the shape once in a bra, rather than shape per se.

BlaDeBla Mon 18-Aug-08 10:47:40

I didn't want an implant either, but I expect the shape may have been strange without one!

TheMadHouse Mon 18-Aug-08 14:26:56

Bla - as it is going to be both breats - at least they will both be strange toegther grin. I think that it must be easier to have two done rather than one sometimes.

BlaDeBla Mon 18-Aug-08 17:15:02

Don't worry, TMH, they can do some amazing things! A woman I know showed me her double reconstruction using her tummy, and it looks fantastic!
I haven't yet been offered a nipple tattoo and I'm not sure I can be bothered with that. You can get prosthetic nipples too, or get them made from your labia...

TheMadHouse Mon 18-Aug-08 18:09:34

labia......no way/ Tummy is going to be sore enough, but my bits too - owch

anorak Mon 18-Aug-08 19:11:27

OK, my situation is this: I will have to fly to the US for this op, and if I discuss it with the surgeon and then need time to decide, I will have to come back to Bermuda and think about it and then fly back to the US - I really don't want to do all that flying about. So I need to have my preferences in mind before I meet the surgeon. Obviously they won't be cut and dried, I accept that the surgeon might consider my choices unsuitable and advise me differently, but I need to at least know what my preferences are, before I go.

I exercise a lot, but I'm unable to do anything involving impact on my ankle, so I can't run. I do a lot of floor exercises, non-impact aerobic exercise on a strider machine, and I swim.

I am about 2 stone overweight and have spare skin on my tummy having given birth three times. I am concerned about losing the muscle in my abdomen with the tummy-tuck style tram-flap operation. A tummy-tuck will look nice at first but the loss of the muscle there could mean a saggy abdomen later on without the possibility of using exercise to tighten it up.

I don't like the idea of an implant. I wonder how people manage to dress during the weeks/months their skin is being stretched beforehand, it all sounds very tricky, and I have heard that people have problems with implants. I much prefer the idea of using my own tissue.

I wonder if the tram-flap using skin and muscle from my back would be the best route?

I hope you can see my dilemma and understand why I would be interested in as many opinions and experiences as I can gather.

TheMadHouse Mon 18-Aug-08 19:32:38

Right I understand - Is there a support group you can discuss this with?

I found the cancerbackup site really informative.

My surgeon stated that you can work on your core muscles around the transflap area and compensate for the loss, although not totally. He stated that he advocvates pilates to help with this.

BlaDeBla Mon 18-Aug-08 20:02:23

I can still do lots of things with my arm, but will probably not go back to riding professionally! Too much heavy lifting and carrying - but that's more to do with the lymphodema than lack of muscle.

Breast Cancer Care may be able to advise as well. Do you have a breast care nurse who is helpful?

I spoke mainly to my bc nurse who showed me pics and told me about the pros and cons of different methods. I think with the back muscle you can still do pretty much everything, but I was told I may not have enough strength to play professional tennisgrin - Oh damn

Heated Mon 18-Aug-08 20:18:08

Hope you don't mind if I join this thread, as I don't have cancer, but high risk. Had my first hospital clinic today where they are going to offer me early scans, but have raised the idea of Prophylactic (Elective) Mastectomy.

Can I ask BlaDeBla why the hmm when saying "What they mind about here is the shape in a bra" ?

BlaDeBla Tue 19-Aug-08 09:33:40

Before the operation, my bc nurse showed me lots of pics of women with reconstructions, both wearing bras and not. It may be worth asking to look at what the surgeons can do, and what to expect

Heated Tue 19-Aug-08 15:59:18

Have been looking at some pictures, tbh I did think they would look a bit better than they do, more like the cosmetic ones I've seen on tv suppose! Then been cross with myself at how shallow I am; it's a medical procedure, not a cosmetic one. But thanks, I have much to think about.

BlaDeBla Tue 19-Aug-08 16:53:42

I thought the same, Heated!You may find this helpful. I thought I might end up with tits like VBeckam or Jordangrin, but I've got one that looks like it belongs on me. I guess it's because the surgeons are starting from the breast bone, whereas with cosmetic surgery there is already breast tissue there that can hide a few bitshmm

BlaDeBla Tue 19-Aug-08 16:56:52

This is from Elaine Sassoon's website

Heated Tue 19-Aug-08 21:20:34

Thanks BlaDeBla, have put the links into favourites to peruse later, it's nice to see something so positive. Have been looking at some US sites of reconstruction and frightened myself a bit blush.

Do they always totally remove the nipple? And presumably if an implant is used, then a lifetime of surgery ahead?

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